I usually like to read books before they are turned into films. I like to create the story world in my mind before I see someone else's interpretation of it. For instance, when I was reading this book, I couldn't help but see Clive Owen's face whenever Theo was narrating, or Julianne Moore's face when Theo is talking about his wife. It's possible those are the people I would have attached to these characters on my own, but I will never know that.
All of that is to say, my general rule is books before films, but every now and again I'll see a movie, a really impressive movie, and then find out it's a book. at which point I'm caught between the struggle of "Should I read it?" or "Should I not read it?" Something feels ruined in having seen the film first. The flow of the story feels interrupted because I already know what will happen (and for some reason I'm not as bothered by that when I read a book and then see its film). But, I loved Children of Men the movie, so I needed to read the book.
Children of Men reads more like a historical account than a piece of fiction. James covers all of her bases and has answers to questions you didn't even know you had making this story of a world in which humanity has lost its ability to reproduce seem not only plausible, but like a terrifying inevitability. I kept thinking about the rising rates of infertility in the real world and wondered how long it would take for the children of men world to become our world. I actually felt physically uncomfortable and anxious at some points while reading and contemplating all of this.
P.D. James seems to have created a genre all her own with this book. It transcends science fiction, and crosses into a realm of futuristic historical fiction. I'm thrilled I added this on as my bonus book.